Search This Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Military Families by Stacy

When I was little I loved going through my siblings’ baby albums.  When my brother was born (during the Vietnam era), my father was in the Navy.  On my brother’s first birthday, the album shows a black and white picture of little Scott tuckered out with cake all over his face and one of my dad’s sailor hats on his head.  My Mom had written a note that the only thing Scott didn’t receive for his birthday was a visit from my Dad who was supposed to be home on leave but couldn’t be.  Entries like this one were common during my brother’s and sister’s childhoods and reading those pages always made me cry my eyes out. 

This spring, several hundred Payne County children will be missing a parent when our National Guard unit is deployed to Afghanistan.  It seems unbelievable that so many local people will be affected since we aren’t near a base, but in this age of the “citizen soldier,” it’s our next door neighbors who have to make the big adjustments, rather than an unknown group of people at a military installation.

We have many books of interest to military families on subjects like separation anxiety, parenting effectively while another parent is away, budgeting, home maintenance, and car repair.  We also have several great DVDs provided to us by Military One Source.  These DVDs are designed to help children cope with a parent’s deployment as well as the parent’s return.  Titles include:

·             “Young children on the homefront: Family stories, family strengths.”
·             “Military youth coping with separation: when family members deploy.”

·             “Mr. Poe and friends: discuss family reunion after deployment.”

I feel kind of silly making material suggestions to those of you affected by the deployment---most of you families are veterans by now with two and three deployments already under your belts.  But, we still hope you will come by when you need us---drop in during a storytime with your little one to spend time with other parents or use our computers when yours is on the fritz.  We want to make sure you know that we are here, proud to serve the families who are willing to serve our country.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sesquicentennial huh? by Valeria

April 12th, 1861, Confederate troops fired on Ft. Sumter, effectively starting the Civil War, and this year marks the 150th anniversary ("sesquicentennial" ).  Joining the nation in remembering this event, Oklahoma has a special event of its own. The keynote event will take place April 29-May 1 and features a special reenactment of the Battle of Honey Springs which took place just outside the town of Checotah, OK.

In addition, the Oklahoma Historical Society encourages you to take advantage of several preservation efforts for the anniversary.  Some of these projects include the Fort Gibson, Fort Towson, and Fort Washita Historical sites, as well as the George Murrell Home.

If travel is not in on your schedule, I suggest the alternative of a good book.  If you want to read about Oklahoma during the Civil War, try some of these histories:

  • “Honey Springs depot, Elk Creek, Creek Nation, Indian Territory” by Jess Epple (973.734 EPP).


If you’re more interested in reading historical fiction, then try “Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, or “Sarah's Ground” by Ann Rinaldi.  “Killer Angels” won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is one of the best historical fiction books written, regardless of whether you are interested in the Civil War.  The library has a book club kit with ten copies of the book, so it would be a perfect April choice for book discussion groups.

If you are interested in researching your family history during the Civil War, come in to use our database or use Heritage Quest from your home.  Heritage Quest includes the Freedman’s Bank which is especially useful for anyone with African-American genealogy.  The genealogy room also houses helpful local materials, including Mahlon Erickson’s “Mexican and Civil War veterans buried in Payne County, Oklahoma” and “Schedules enumerating Union veterans and widows of Union veterans of the Civil War microform : Oklahoma and Indian territories.”

Ask for assistance at the Help Desk.  However you choose to take part in Civil War history, we’ll be glad to help.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Award Season by Mary Leslie

The first part of each New Year is dedicated to awards and honors for something outstanding, marvelous, and exceptional from the previous year.  We have the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, the Academy Awards, and the Grammys.  The Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association) also presents awards at this time.  The Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal are two of the highest honors awarded to illustrators and authors of children's books.

The Caldecott Medal has been presented every year since 1938 and is named after Randolph Caldecott, a 19th century English illustrator of picture books.  Books that are selected for the award must have exceptional illustrations, not only for their quality, but for the relationship of the pictures to the story.  The illustrations must enhance the story and must convey the meaning of the story without the words.  The illustrator must be a citizen or resident of the United States.  

The 2011 winner of the Caldecott Medal is “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” written and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.  This is a lovely story about friendship and giving.  Two books won 2011 Caldecott Medal Honors:  “Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave” by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier and “Interrupting Chicken” written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein.

The Newbery Medal has been presented every year since 1922 and is named after John Newbery, an 18th century British publisher and bookseller who first made children's literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market.  The award is presented to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children.  

The 2011 winner of the Newbery Medal is "Moon Over Manifest" written by Clare Vanderpool.  In her book, the author emphasizes the importance of stories for the understanding of our past, present, and future.  The 2011 Newbery Medal Honors go to the following books:  “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm; “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus; “Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night” by Joyce Sidman; “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia.

The lists of all the past recipients of the Caldecott and Newbery Honors are in the Children's Section of the library.  I'm sure you remember many of the books from your own childhood. The library tries to keep copies of each of the books in our collection.  Each honoree is labeled on the spine with either Caldecott or Newbery stickers.  If you need assistance in locating the books, please ask at the Help desks (or  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hobby Farming by Brenda

Hobby Farming has become a growing trend across the nation in the last few years. The idea is to know what is going into the products you eat and to save money.  Of course, here in Stillwater and the surrounding areas there are many who have raised beef cattle and other livestock for years to sell at auction. You may have noticed that some of your friends and family have begun to also raise small flocks of chickens for eggs or to raise a pig or steer for meat rather than buy form the store.  Raising your own livestock gives you the chance to go organic or grass-based rather than using hormones and grains.  You could also try raising heritage breeds and rare breeds that are at risk of going extinct.      
If you are interested in raising your own livestock for economical and health reasons, there are a few books here at the library that I recommend:

·             “Hobby Farm: Living Your Rural Dream for Pleasure and Profit” by Carol Ekarius—Ekarius writes from personal experience about deciding to make the switch from living in the city to managing a small farm.  She explains small scale gardening, raising livestock, and dealing with problems like pests and changing seasons.

·             “Living on an Acre: A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life”—This is the classic small farm primer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which covers topics like building a barn, beekeeping, raising livestock, and land conservation.

Most importantly do not forget to enjoy yourself. I have much enjoyed going to a family member’s house to help collect eggs and feed the hens; watching the hens as they run around the yard, getting all excited after you mow to scratch through the freshly cut grass for seeds and bugs.  May you have as much joy out of it as I do!

Sign onto our electronic magazine service to read publications like "Organic Gardening."